Aug 15, 2020 News
When it comes to the role he will play in managing the affairs of the nation, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, disclosed to members of the media yesterday that he will be assisting President, Irfaan Ali in keeping a watchful eye on the Oil and Gas sector as well as other natural resources. He would be helping the Head of State execute his budgetary agenda too.
The Vice President made these and other disclosures during a press conference that was held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre. Even as he reminded of the oversight role the Office of the President (OP) would have for the areas of natural resources and finance, the Vice President noted that this would not overshadow the functions to be executed by substantive ministers. “There must be core Ministers,” Jagdeo said, “with oversight responsibilities too, so day to day functions of those offices must not be done by Office of the President. We will have more oversight responsibility especially in the transitional period so as to give guidance to sectors and establish systems in ministries that can be self-propelling.”
With regard to the Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, Jagdeo said that he would be in charge of the oil sector while noting that the Department of Energy that is currently housed at OP would be transferred to the Minister. He said that this move would be in keeping with the government’s campaign pledge to keep the heavy hand of the President out of the management of the sector. He reminded that former President David Granger, had admitted that he did not read the oil contracts but was still signing off on technical documents for the sector. The Vice President said that the PPP administration does not agree with that ad hoc governance style hence the restructuring that is taking place.
Further to this, he said that the government intends to swiftly establish the Petroleum Commission. He said that this could happen in a matter of six to eight months.
The Vice President said that the Commission will be, for the most part, a technical regulatory body with some of the best local and foreign minds. Once the Commission is in place, Jagdeo said, it will also handle the day to day operations of the sector. By that time, OP and Minister Bharrat would only have input on clearing policy.
He added, “…We hope Guyanese can be heavily involved there with the help of foreigners until we can train our own. But let me say this, the president has made it clear that for oil and all other sectors, we want to see a prominent place for Guyanese in the management of these areas.”
Jagdeo informed the media that President Ali will soon establish an Advisory Group on Oil and Gas, one expected to be made up of mainly Guyanese.
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